Santa Ana

Suspect held in 1996 murder

MURDER SUSPECT Edgar Ortega Cervantes (right) is arrested for the 1996 fatal stabbing of Julio Franco in 1996 (SAPD photo).

A suspect in a 1996 “cold case” murder investigation has been arrested by Santa Ana police.

Edgar Ortega Cervantes, 51, of Mexico, was extradited from Mexico to California and taken into custody by SAPD detectives on Thursday. He is accused of the fatal stabbing of Julio Franco, 24,of Santa Ana on June 27, 1996 in the 500 block of S. Spruce Street in Santa Ana.

No arrests were made at that time, but in 2009 the case was reopened and a DNA profile was obtained. Cervantes was identified and located in Mexico.  He was arrested there on Oct. 26, 2020.

According to the SAPD, Cervantes made “incriminating statements” and was re- arrested for Franco’s death.

No motive for the stabbing has been established. Anyone with additional information on the case is asked to call SAPD detectives at (714) 245-8390.

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